Chapter 87 A Knowing Trade
Ilea couldn’t sleep quite as long as she wanted that night, too much to think about from the past couple days. She was lying in bed smiling though, glad to have found a place to stay and perhaps some people she could stay with for a while.
“I think I like them Aki.” Ilea said to the dagger stuck in the ceiling.
“I think you liked the food the most.” he replied.
“Ah yes, that as well, what a magnificent cook. You know about their race?” she asked.
“No, I have not seen anything like it before.”
“Interesting. I’ll definitely ask the others to do some more training after the classes though. If feel like at least Kyrian would be up for that. Maybe even that noble, he seemed to enjoy the bouts.” she said.
“I think he tried to kill you.” Aki answered.
“Even better, means there’s actual danger. I didn’t necessarily try to kill the man but I did punch him into unconsciousness in the first fight.” Ilea said, grinning.
“So this is the fabled battle maniac...I have certainly heard of your kind but none of my wielders so far was quite the same.” Aki commented.
“Really? Not a single one? I would assume elves would be exactly that, considering the ones I’ve fought so far.”
“I would assume you have fought young elves, impulsive, uncontrolled and angry. It usually changes over time though looking from a human moral standpoint they don’t necessarily become better.” Aki explained.
“Perhaps, yes. Though humans are shit too, greedy and evil. I honestly don’t think we’re much better but I know little of what elves actually do except for genocide. Which again is not something only they do. Humans are exceptional at it as well.” Ilea said, getting up from her bed.
“True, though I have seen only very rare occasions of elves treating someone or something weaker with anything but disregard. There are some humans who are different. At least from what I’ve seen.” Aki said and continued as Ilea got him out of the ceiling. “Where are we going? It’s hours until noon.
“I’m not tired and I can’t go train. Maybe some music?” Ilea asked.
“Whatever you like.” Aki answered, though Ilea just held the dagger up to her face.
“What do You like Aki?” she asked and waited for a response.
“You’re asking your dagger what it likes?” the piece of metal replied.
“Yes I am. Done weirder things since I’m in Elos, so what is it?”
“Since you’re in Elos? What do you mean?” the question wasn’t surprising. The dagger certainly picked up on things quickly and Ilea was prone to let something slip at some point.
“I’ll come to that at a later time, ok? So what do you want to do?” Ilea didn’t mind much that Aki now had an idea that she was from somewhere other than this continent. He probably had assumed as much already.
“How about books?” Aki said after being quiet for half a minute.
“Like reading, or stabbing them?” Ilea joked and walked towards the door.
“You know the answer girl...” the reply came while she opened the door. She of course knew that Aki wanted nothing more than to stab a good book.
Viscera felt alive even this late into the night. Of course the magical lights above never wavered and with the rich adventurers the influx of new musicians and other artists and salespeople never stopped. Though Ilea was sure there was a certain rotation with Ravenhall going on. It was doubtful someone would travel through the mountains just to play or sell in Viscera.
Seeing some of the wares and people thought, Ilea doubted her thinking a little. Perhaps it was just that profitable.
This time the person manning the reception seemed to be fighting off sleep. It was night outside and Ilea was glad again that she needed less and less sleep to stay functioning. “Hey, anybody there?” she asked the woman who blinked her eyes open in shock.
Ilea touched her arm and started to heal her in an attempt to wake her up but realized that the warm feeling might not be what the woman needed right now. “Y...Yes, what can I do for you.” she finally said.
“Where’s the library.” Ilea asked and the woman pointed towards Viscera.
“Down and then the right most elevator up.” she said and continued to blink her eyes.
‘These positions with a chance to become a member are really looked for… or maybe she just parties too much.’ Ilea thought and walked back to the town. Ready to find some new questions and perhaps some answers as well.
“Ilea Spears. Yes, quite an impressive evaluation you had and yesterday were your first classes?” the man sitting in front of her said. “You are a paid member so you will have full access to the base level of the library. Any specialized information will cost you.” the man explained.
“Oh don’t worry about that...” Ilea said, walking around the room, thinking that Eve would like it here quite a lot. It was dark in the room, quite unlike the white stone most of Viscera seemed to be built with. The stone was nearly black and there were structures in the room made from the same material. A multitude of angled blue tinted windows let some of the magical light inside from the great cave that was Viscera.
Though traveling with the elevator had put Ilea quite a bit above the ground level of the city, at least the level of the last staircase.
“I am not talking about gold, miss Ilea.” the man said, his gaze hovering a little above his spectacles. “I am talking about knowledge.” he finished.
“I assume any kind of knowledge, though an oral testimony won’t be enough I assume?” Ilea asked, getting a slight smile from the man.
“No, quite so.” he said, putting down the pen he was writing with, leaning back in his massive chair. Ilea could see the leather and wood strain, keeping his weight at bay. She smiled, knowing that she wasn’t talking with the average librarian. The question marks upon her identification underlined that thought.
“And what about the knowledge I get? How do I trust that you’re not gonna tell other people what I might ask?” Ilea said, walking closer to the table again.
“That is knowledge as well my dear. And for the right price, one might acquire it. Though depending on what you have to share I can ensure you will get a one year period where your questions will stay locked. For anyone but me.” the way he talked Ilea was sure there was no way to haggle with the man, his word was final.
“Interesting. Well for now I’m here to say hello. You already have my name, what will yours cost?” Ilea said, smirking at the man. She was quite happy to find he repeated the gesture.
“That, is free. I am Dagon Keywire. Humble, librarian of this fine guild. Head librarian I might add, though it does not matter. We are in the pursuit of knowledge and such titles hold little meaning. I am happy to welcome you in the guild.” Ilea stared at him before turning around and walking towards the windows.
“I quite like these windows Head librarian Keywire. Where might I find the maker?” Ilea asked, touching the glass.
“Dagon is quite alright. Another free piece of advice Miss Spears. In Viscera, asking for a name is no issue… usually. Though be careful with members of the hand you encounter in the wild. They might take, offense. An outdated and unreasonable tradition they hold on, though many enjoy the reverie they are viewed in. An image, nothing more.” the man explained “The maker of this glass I would have to search, what piece of knowledge or artifact will you trade for a name and location, should the being still exist?”
“I was told that before...doesn’t seem to be an issue though. You take artifacts as well then, is that the reason why you welcome me so warmly?” Ilea said and walked back to the man.
“That is another piece of knowledge, yet I have yet to receive any compensation Miss Spears.”
“Ilea is quite fine on my side as well Dagon. Now how much is the knowledge worth that I own a storage item?” Ilea said and the man perked up.
“Not a lot.” he paused and looked at her in an evaluating way. “You are in Viscera now. There’s a high chance some others have the same. Though it is a piece of information I have yet to see proof.” he said.
Ilea checked with her Sphere but found nobody else to be in her range. She quickly summoned the damaged Legate Guardian helmet she still held in her necklace. It appeared in her hand and she placed it on the table. “It holds little use for me anymore but it is an artifact. One likely over a thousand years old. And you have proof of my necklace. I intend to have the year period of silence about it’s existence as well.” Ilea said.
The man extended his rather big hands and grabbed the helmet from its place on the table. Dagon examined the piece of armor and then grunted approvingly. “Yes, it’s real. Quite a find. I’ve only ever heard of the rank Legate, though to have found a piece of armor. Quite exceptional. The Taleen are still rather shrouded, and I find it infuriating how little of the hoarded knowledge is shared with the guild.” he said and continued, the helmet vanishing from his hand.
“The silence is of course guaranteed, for a year. Nothing longer than that can be bought. Not from me at least. The maker of the glass lives in Ravenhall, quite a nice glass mage and artist. Elvon Isar. I am an opportunist and yes, the chance of you finding knowledge is a big part of why I welcome you. Though I am not here to deceive you. I trade knowledge for knowledge, as simple as that.” Dagon said.
“The artifact you gave is of rare quality but its historical value far exceeds its quality as a piece of equipment. You may still ask some questions. The year of silence is guaranteed for anyhting you may ask. The answer might cost more.” the librarian finished.
“May I come back with those questions? I have more things to share with you as well of course.” Ilea asked. Dagon closed his eyes and nodded lightly. “For one that you’re quite a bit more heavy than you seem. And I assume you move a bit faster as you seem as well.” Ilea said and smirked. Dagon smiled back at her as she left the room.
“I will look forward to it.” he said after her.
“Do you think I can trust him? To stand to his word?” Ilea asked while descending the elevator.
“Every man has a price. Though he seems to be very open with his. The question is if the year of silence is anything to trust.” Aki said and continued. “Though who would want to know about your secrets? What will you want to ask him?”
Ilea stayed quiet for a while but ultimately answered. “There’s a low chance of anybody caring. Or of anybody being a danger to me that finds out but I tend to overshare and trust too easily. I at least want to ask around a little before I ask some of the riskier questions to a shady librarian working for a guild of shadowed adventurers.”
“They’re mercenaries. You, are a mercenary.” Aki said.
“It’s basically the same.” Ilea answered and exited the elevator. ‘Who should I ask though, there’s nobody here I really trust… ‘ she thought and walked upwards towards Ravenhall. ‘Next best thing then...’ her Hunter’s Sight came in handy again and a couple minutes later she stood in front of an office and knocked.
“Come in.” the man said, Ilea blinking inside immediately. “Oh, the new initiate. What is it?” William asked, looking up from the paper he was writing on.
“I was wondering about Dagon Keywire and his knowledge trading.” Ilea said.
“You’re rather upfront. You don’t trust the man? I assure you the guild is no exception to his year of silence. Though the knowledge not protected by his dubious vow is open to us. I have not yet seen any exception being made but you have nothing more than my word.” he immediately understood and answered Ilea’s question. She couldn’t find any obvious tells of him lying but then again it all could be a ploy.
She sighed and looked towards the ceiling. “This is annoying.” she exclaimed. The chuckling coming from William surprised her as he didn’t seem the type of person to do that, ever.
“Well, being at your level of strength will bring knowledge and questions that will put yourself or others in danger. Trust me everybody here shares the sentiment. It’s for you to evaluate what is save to share and what risk is worth taking.” he explained.
“Why did you answer? And why chuckle?” Ilea asked as she focused on the man again.
“The answer is because you seem genuine. I am with the guild and every member can expect a measure of support from me. For the second question, that is not something I’d share with you or Dagon for that matter.” he said, his face serious again.
“Aight, thanks anyway.” she said and the man motioned for her to leave.
‘One more I guess...’ Ilea thought and walked around the entrance hall before she finally decided on someone.
“Yea, he’s fine. Never heard of anybody getting anything out of him that is under his year of silence. Not for a lack of trying. One noble woman even offered him a storage ring and access to their whole library for some piece of knowledge. Heard she left angrily. Nobody’s heard of her since then. Some say she came back to force it out of Dagon but I’ve yet to hear anything more than rumors. All I know he takes his vows seriously.” Liam said, taking a sip of the mead Ilea had brought the man.
He had been sitting alone on a table in one of the pubs, listening to the live music. “What do you want to ask him?”
“I’m looking for someone. Heard the name is pretty influential. Just trying to keep somewhat of a low profile.” Ilea said, making him choke on his drink. “What?”
“Hahaha, well and you tell me that? Oh well as long as you don’t tell me the name too!” he put the mug down. “What’s the name?” he whispered.
“Fuck off.” she waved the obviously drunk man off and drank from her own mug, leaning back onto the bench and enjoying the singing voices. ‘Quite different than what’s played in earthen pubs...’ she thought but didn’t dislike the change.
“You like this bar and the music?” she asked, half listening to the response.
“It’s peaceful. Yes.” Liam said. Ilea quickly looked at his eyes, unfocused from the alcohol but intently locked on the musicians.
“Thanks for the help.” she said, smiling at him and got up. Looking at him woke a certain urge in Ilea though she didn’t plan on engaging with anybody for now. If only she had a way to get to the Root and find that waitress again. ‘Now to help myself...’ she thought and went back to her apartment.
The door closed behind her and both her clothes and Aki vanished into her necklace. The next hour was quite relaxing though she did miss the convenience of batteries. ‘Maybe there’s a literal magic wand for that...’ she thought, panting in her bed after she had finally reached her climax. The last ten minutes felt more like work than anything else.
Ilea’s clothes came back on as did the sentient dagger fill its sheath again as she got up from her bed.
“I know what you did.” Aki said.
“Don’t tell me you have a libido. Should I ram you into the wall repeatedly?”
“Hah.” Aki’s answer didn’t quite resolve the mystery but Ilea had other questions to ask. And not to her magical dagger. She thought about leaving him in her necklace while she spoke to Dagon but in the end didn’t think it necessary. He had not revealed himself among all the people she’d been with so far and had been providing her with advice and answers, while being a dry sarcastic little shit. Of course for Ilea that wasn’t a negative.
“So she returns. Did you find me trustworthy after all?” Dagon asked, looking over his glasses at the entering woman.
“Well I seem to be the only one around here so I’m not so sure anymore.” Ilea commented as she entered the room.
“It’s been a slow week. I presume it has to do with the elven attacks. Many are out there fighting. Nearly all who remain are new members of the guild and Viscera has draws that many deem more engaging than a library or the trade of knowledge.” Dagon explained.
“Yes, those. Well I have some questions then. I assume people can’t listen in, at least with known skills.”
“Not anymore.” Dagon said and Ilea was immediately on alert as her Sphere cut off on the edges of the room.
“So you too? A very valuable skill to have thought I cannot discern it’s exact powers with that reaction alone.” Dagon commented. Ilea was a little annoyed that he had seen her reaction but it wasn’t a common thing for her Sphere to be cut off. So far only the library wall in Salia managed it and of course Eve.